at the fair

Last week was the bi-annual big shoe trade fair. My dad has been attending for thirty years or so with whatever brand of shoes he has been selling over the years.
I worked there for almost ten years during school and university. It’s weird not to anymore (I stopped when I finished university and got a fulltime job).
I stopped by shortly before they closed to say hi to everyone.

I worked for an italian kid’s shoe brand, having known the owners all my life and being good friends with them (heck, I even learned to speak italian just so we could chat). I did some photoshoots for them a while ago, which still shows up on their flyers and posters.

For nearly all of my life, the shoe fair fell on my birthday. Years ago, my dad introduced me to an old client of his and the client told me: “Oh, I know you, I remember the day you were born. Your father was called out for in all of the exhibition halls, telling him he had better go to the hospital now. That day, everyone on the fair knew he was going to be a daddy.”
I guess I just have a special relation to shoemaking. I loved this video about a shoemaker.

While my friends have a factory and a few dozen employees, a lot of their work is still handmade. I’ve seen them work at these old industrial sewing machines and cut leather fringes meticulously by hand one by one. Their designs are still drawn on paper and later, my dad goes through dozens of designs, picking and combining different leathers and colors to make each shoe a work of art.


2 thoughts on “at the fair

  1. Lynda


    What a wonderful and interesting industry to grow up in! Thanks for sharing this. I love his apron and a true artist and craftsman. I love the mindset – one we used to have – to buy stuff that’s meant to last for 10 years and does.


    1. tidytipsy

      Lynda, it is! I know places in Italy where there are little workshops in garages and such, a couple of people sitting around and making shoes by hand. It’s amazing.



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